Eddie Hearn says he is continuing to soldier on with talks for an all-British heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, despite Fury’s incessant “gun-to-the-temple” ultimatums to sign the contract.
Negotiations between Hearn, the head of Matchroom, which promotes Joshua, and Frank Warren’s Queensberry, Fury’s promoter, have been going on for the past couple of weeks ever since Joshua took Fury up on his initial offer and agreed to all of Fury’s major terms, including the financial split (60/40 in favor of Fury) and date.
But talks have been complicated by Fury’s frequent and admittedly haphazard public pronouncements, in which he is often seen mocking Joshua and making unreasonable demands that Joshua “sign the contract,” by the end of the day, lest the fight fall apart.
Fury, who holds the WBC title, offered his latest exhortation on social media on Thursday, expressing his impatience with Joshua but noting also that Warren had convinced him to allow both parties to continue negotiating. Fury also claimed in his monologue that all the TV broadcasters — ESPN, DAZN, BT — had greenlit the fight; Fury has exclusive deals with BT and ESPN, while Joshua is contractually tied to DAZN.
Hearn, in an interview published on Thursday, indicated that the broadcasters have not come to an agreement yet. Moreover, Hearn suggested that Fury’s comments do little but interfere with his dealings with Queensberry, which, Hearn says, has largely been handled in a cordial manner.
“Certainly, the deal is not done with BT, DAZN and everybody with UK global rights,” Hearn told iFL TV. “I just don’t know what Tyson Fury really wants.”
“Yesterday, Wednesday afternoon, we received the comments from Queensberry on our final draft, which there were many,” Hearn continued. “And I spoke to George Warren last night at midnight and said, ‘Look, Tyson says he’s not doing the fight but let me talk to him and we’ll go from there. In the meantime, we’re working on the contract which you sent to us yesterday. Then out of nowhere we see the Instagram post like the rest of the world. You’ve got to sign it today, again.
“It’s not getting signed today. Because there are a number of things to work on in the agreement. We’ve never been told once by Queensberry—because they know it’s not ready to be signed yet—'You have to sign this contract today.’ The only time we ever see that is generally on the date or a day before from Tyson Fury … we’ve had three or four people working nonstop on this fight for a long time. I can’t actually fault anybody from Queensberry’s side and if you ask them honestly, I don’t think they can fault anyone from our side. There’s been no bad mouthing, it’s been real smooth.”
Hearn reiterated that it takes time to construct a deal of this magnitude and said he expects to hand over another batch of responses to Queensberry’s comment on their final draft of the contract.
“We will go back on Queensberry’s comments today,” Hearn said. “Again, like I said, we sent them a final draft on Monday and they came back with their comments.
“That’s fine by the way. I’m not saying oh I can’t believe they wanted more changes to the agreement. It’s just the process.
“I just don’t really know what to believe what comes out of his (Fury’s) mouth. I don’t know if he wants the fight, if he’s going to allow the process to unfold. He told us the deadline was Monday, he called the fight off, now he’s changed his mind. Now he’s telling us that the deadline is today. Now he’s gonna come out tonight and go ‘ You’re a dosser.’ The fight’s off again. But we’ll keep carrying on.’”
Hearn said that while Joshua accepted all of Fury’s initial terms, the fight has so far been slanted heavily in favor of Fury.
“This is a real disadvantage to Anthony Joshua,” Hearn said. “This fight date, everything. From a training perspective we wanted December 17th. We made that publicly clear. We weren’t given the option. He (Joshua) even accepted the date, he even accepted the terms. All the terms were non changeable, and he accepted all of them.”
Hearn also took issue with Fury’s comment that Joshua and Co. are not allowed to be more intimately involved with the financial breakdown of the fight. Hearn said that that was a nonstarter.
“Any event where you have a financial split it’s not just a case of, ‘We’ll do all the deals and sorry about your existing commercial deals and we’ll let you know how much it comes to.’ No,” Hearn said. “We have to be involved in those deals and ultimately Queensberry has the final right of say on all the commercial deals.”
“It’s not slow,” Hearn said of negotiations. “You’re talking about the biggest fight in boxing. This process has not been slow. What is frustrating is Fury comes out of nowhere and cancels the fight, two days later he comes back and says you’ve got until today. But we only received the comments from Queensberry for our final draft late yesterday afternoon.”